The disproportional impacts of the economy on Latino youth

Yesterday, 80 Million Strong released a joint statement indicating that Hispanic youth are amongst those hardest hit by the economy. This should not come as a surprise to anyone. Since the onset of the recession, this unfortunate demographic has faced escalating challenges that hinder their ability to thrive in the job market. Like other young people, Latino youth are increasingly unable to meet their demands, due to high student loans, overwhelming competition and credit card debt.

In fact, according to the new Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for Latino youth between 20 and 24 years old was 16.5% in May 2009 – an alarming 3% increase from April. Younger generations between the ages of 16 and 19 are facing an even bleaker outlook, with a staggering 31% unemployment rate in May 2009 – an almost 4% increase from April.

Despite the fact that Latinos are especially hard hit, young people in general are relentlessly suffering throughout the country. Many are graduating from expensive universities and are forced to compete with more experienced applicants due to the shrinking job market. Under these circumstances, it can be nearly impossible to make ends meet, which could possibly discourage others from pursuing higher education in the future.

For this reason, Latino youth are teaming up with young people at large to develop and advocate for sustainable economic policies. With the hope that things will improve, 80 Million Strong is organizing a summit this upcoming month in Washington to discuss how these policies should better address the growing concerns of all young Americans, including Latinos.

– Marianne Peterson

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